Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
July 14, 2004

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Here is this week's WINNING WAYS . . . .

“The Deconstruction Worker”
by Tom Goodman

You’ve heard of construction workers; Stephen Israel is a deconstruction worker, and his work reminds me of one of the most exciting things Jesus promised would happen in the future.

Stephen Israel saves historic pieces of architecture from buildings targeted for demolition.  He is founder and president of a little Vermont business called the Great American Salvage Company.

The man scours the East Coast for stately old structures that people plan to tear down:  mansions, hotels, theaters, church buildings—grand old buildings built in a time of careful stonework and painstaking craftsmanship.

Before the bulldozers come, he arranges permission to go in and pry loose the special pieces:  window frames, carved moldings, marble fireplace mantels, pedestal sinks, wrought-iron gates, light fixtures, fan-shaped stain-glass windows, mahogany paneling, and so on.

Imagine his work.  He enters a dilapidated area—once grand and dignified but now in a state of deterioration and neglect.  And before the whole place is torn down, he pries loose those things he values.  He reclaims them from the ruins and fits them into a newer and better place.

The Bible tells us of a day when Jesus will come back to a world targeted for demolition.  And before the whole place is torn down, he will “pry loose” those he values.  We will be caught up in an event Christians call “the rapture.”

The “rapture” is a non-biblical word for a biblical event.  In other words, if you do a word-search in your Bible, you won’t find the word, but you’ll definitely find the event the word describes.  The English word “rapture” means to be caught up, and it has come to be the preferred word most Christians use to describe that future time when we will be lifted from this world, gathered around the returning Christ and transformed in a magnificent way.

We’ll look at this marvelous event Christ promised this Sunday, July 18, 8:15 or 10:45 a.m!


P.S.  As you read today’s e-newsletter, did it make you think of someone who could use it?  One of the reasons I send out Winning Ways by e-mail is so you can forward it others.  In fact, I want you to help me prepare for an upcoming subscription campaign.  Our goal is to add fifty more subscribers to Winning Ways by August 18.  You can help me prepare for this campaign by simply telling me three things:

Where you’re receiving the e-newsletter.  Did you know that Winning Ways goes out to seven countries and five states?  Wow!
How Winning Ways has helped you.
What’s happened when you have forwarded it to others.  What kind of conversations has it started with others?  Have they begun to attend Hillcrest with you because of what they’ve read in Winning Ways?
I may use your comments in the subscription campaign when I launch it in two weeks.

Important Notes:

Discover Hillcrest:  This Sunday, July 18.  NEW TIME!  The class will now be held right after the morning service, AND LUNCH IS PROVIDED!  The class is for those who want to become members, and for those who just want to learn more about Hillcrest.  Topics include:

The most important thing you need to know about Jesus
What we teach about baptism
Four fundamentals of spiritual growth, using the acronym “H.I.L.L.”
How to “connect” with others in the church
How to help us reach others for Christ and church involvement
How to worship
While I teach the adult class, BJ teaches "Discover Hillcrest Kids" for children ages 8-12, and Jim teaches "Discover Hillcrest Youth" for students in grades 6-12.  Childcare is provided for children under the age of 8.  We already have 10 signed up for these three classes!  Join us!

Catching Up:  If you missed the first four studies in our series, Back to the Future, you can listen to them at Click here.

Prayer and Fasting Continues:  Our five-week prayer emphasis continues.  This week we’re praying that God will show us our THEMs in our workplaces.  Remember that the word THEM is the most important word in the Great Commission:  “Go to the people all nations and make THEM my disciples.  Baptize THEM in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach THEM to do everything I have told you” (Matthew 28:19-20, CEV).  You can’t say you’ve reached THEM until you’ve reached at least one!  If you haven’t picked up your magnet and key chain that we prepared for this prayer emphasis, get yours the next time you’re at church.  Also, join us in the Worship Center each Tuesday between noon and 1 p.m. to “Pray a Dangerous Prayer!”  This prayer emphasis is already having an impact!  Don’t miss out!

Special Lesson Series:  I have begun a special three-week series in the Adult 5 Sunday School Department.  The Community Class is joining us for this study, too.  In the series, we’ll look at “The PLAN of Our Salvation,” “The PURPOSE of Our Life,” and “The PARTNERSHIP of Our Church.”

Youth Choir:  Oops!  Last week’s Winning Ways used an old calendar to announce that the performance that the youth choir prepared for their Vermont Mission Trip would be presented July 11.  That presentation had to be moved to this Sunday evening, July 18, at 6:30 p.m.



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